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If the onslaught of buy one get one half off sales, the bombardment of mail from retail chains, and trampled store employees has yet to clue you in…Tis the Season!
Christmas is rapidly closing in on us. Nothing gets you more merry, jolly, ready to side step anyone not in a full on sprint in store aisles, and throat punch senior citizens for the latest and greatest whatever like putting up the decorations.
Every year, the Sunday after Thanksgiving (when I usually come out of the tryptophan coma I’ve been in for the past 48 hours wears off), my family and I unload the Christmas decorations, put on some holiday music, and turn our house in to Santa’s backyard.
Sometimes I have been known to smite the makers of outside Christmas lights in a flurry of swear words and unmitigated anger. Sometimes everything lights, no one cries, and no one has to say any Hail Mary’s for taking the Lord’s name in vain…repeatedly. Regardless of how it goes, communication is the key to making sure everyone survives this day and all 37 Santas find their proper resting place for the next month.
There must be 3 dozen blankets in my house. Look no further than my hallway closet if you need to make a blanket rope to scale down your 18th floor apartment during a fire. We have everything from quilts and comforters to knitted throws and fleece that could keep an Eskimo warm. Like most everything else in my house, I am not quite sure how we amassed such a collection but stuffed tightly into closets, folded on the end of beds, and over top of furniture, there they all are.
For the most part, each and every blanket gets used for their intended purpose. Mostly it is my wife, who can’t seem to warm up even when the thermostat in the house is north of the year round climate of the Gobi Desert, using them when she sleeps. But sometimes our blankets become superhero capes (which I may be guiltier of doing than the kids). Sometimes they are laid out to create a bed when everyone else in my house is sleeping in my bed and I get relegated to the floor with the dog (commonly referred to ‘Dad camping’ in my house). Sometimes we use them as roofs for our sofa forts in the basement and some of them adorn our furniture to hide the wear and tear only having two kids, a cat, and a 90 pound dog can do to your furniture. Somehow we manage to use each and every one…except one.
There is one blanket in my house that does not get used by anyone. It is a green and brown crocheted blanket that has been stretched out to the point of allowing my kids to be able to put their hands through the holes in the knitting. The fabric, frayed in some spots and faded in others, bears the look of its 30 year old age. It is small (admittedly, it seemed much bigger when I was much smaller). The fluff of the fabric has been tamped down by years of storage and its best days of keeping anyone warm are long behind it. At first glance, it pales in comparison to the microfibers and fleeces of our regularly used blankets and poses the question of why keep such a wafer of a blanket.
The green and brown crocheted blanket, tightly folded in a corner of my storage chest has earned its place among the rest of the items. Things like my daughter’s Baptism dresses, pictures, lockets, birthday cards with messages written by family members no longer with us, a stack of comic books (I keep hidden so my wife does not find out I put them in the chest). This blanket stays with the rest of our links to the past because this green and brown crocheted blanket belonged to my Grandmother.
I had been digging through the storage chest the other day for reasons unknown to me other than to guess it was something my wife had told me I needed to find and I was out of places to look. I was moving past some of the trinkets, clothing, and flipping through the yellowed pages of the comics books when I came across the blanket. As the storage chest is more of a time capsule than something any of us dig through on a normal basis, it had been years since I had seen the green and brown crocheted blanket.
But there it is, right in front of me. I of course push aside everything else even remotely close to it so I can pull the green and brown crocheted blanket out and hold it. Like a song on the radio or any other items bringing on that feeling of nostalgia, the blanket holds my key to getting back to my Grandmother.
My kids encompass my entire life. They move me every day to do great things. They can bring me to tears and laughter with only a look. I don’t know what I would be without my kids? I wouldn’t trade being a father for anything in this world. I would however trade my kids for a few hours so they can have a sleep over with their grandparents and their mom and I can have some time alone.
And so that is what my wife and I did. Three weeks ago, my mother-in-law offered to have the girls overnight, an offer we gladly (and possibly too enthusiastically) took. This past weekend, the kids had their sleepover with their grandparents and my wife and I had the night just to us. To do whatever it was we wanted.
There was just one issue, even with three week to plan out our Saturday night, as late as the very Saturday night our kids were gone, my wife and I were still trying to figure out what it was we wanted to do. Being no strangers to conversations of all kinds, my wife and I struck up our latest when I got home from work that Saturday night to try an figure it out.
“Dad, should I be scared?”
This is the question my youngest daughter asked me minutes before she was supposed to take the court for a basketball game. Her team was going to be playing during halftime of the high school varsity game, as a part of the last home game of the season. In front of a full gymnasium of people cheering and clapping, my 8 year old looked me straight in the eyes and asked if she should be scared. She needed to know.
I paused for a minute.
I have tried to prepare myself for the inevitable barrage of questions my children, who are bound by their DNA, to unleash upon me. While I obviously haven’t been able to plot out every answer to every question they have and will have asked me (hard to have an answer ready for why humans don’t have gills), sometimes the best you can hope for is to just be ready when you get the, “Dad, how are babies made?” question.
This year before the start of school my oldest daughter professed, in no uncertain terms, she would no longer need her mother or I to walk her home from the bus stop after school. Before we could begin our rebuttal to her declaration our daughter also made sure to add in just how embarrassing and damaging it would be to her blossoming credibility amongst her peers if Mom and Dad stood at the corner waiting for her to get off of the bus.
I agreed with her that her mother anxiously awaiting her arrival home from school at the corner of our street would be utterly embarrassing, but me? Embarrassing? I was shocked. Neither my wife nor my daughter thought it necessary to acknowledge my dismay. Instead, we both relented to our 11 year old’s demand and told her she could walk home from the bus stop by herself.
You would think with how many years we have been doing this, the first day of school wouldn’t require anything other than waking up, eating a bowl of cereal, and getting on the bus. Instead, we have been drafting the first day of school itinerary for the past 2 weeks and all of our planning has led to this. Clothing has been picked out and laid out. Lunches have been Ziploc’d and packed. 5 different alarm clocks have been set for various times starting from sunrise. We could not be more ready for Monday morning except…
My wife has never been good with this day. Seems after spending 100 days of summer vacation with the kids, she still wants them to stay home with her even though the Pennsylvania Public School System has once again given her a get out of jail free card by mandating we send our children to school. So while we are all ready to go (which means waking up late and running around like maniacs in the morning), my wife, not so much.
Sunday Night. Sometime around 10:30pm
Last week my family and I packed up our car and headed to Myrtle Beach. The 10 plus hours in the car, in between the staccato of “are we there yet” and arguments about which movie should be played in the portable DVD player, the ride was bearable. The excitement of getting to our destination and beginning our vacation tempered all of our resolves during the drive. Our bladders also hardened as we were able to skip rest stops normally we would have spent a half an hour at taking turns in the unisex lavatory that is wedged between the sodas and rack of Twinkies.
As much as we were able to endure the prison sentence of a car ride down, what weighed on my mind was the car ride back. We had spent a week getting our fill of food, sun, and chaffing from sand. The hardened resolve we had on our way down no doubt atrophied like an astronaut who spent too long in the weightlessness of zero gravity.
Yesterday was the first part of the exclusive interview with Jon Gosselin of ‘Jon and Kate Plus 8′ fame. Jon opened up about a whole slew of things, his time in the spotlight and his challenges as a dad. Today is the final part of the interview which starts here. You can read the rest of the interview at Dads Round Table…
Do they actively plot against you?
They don’t plot against me and I know whose lying. I don’t go to the girls because they’ll lie right to my face. I’ll go to Aaden. He’ll look right at the ground every single time. ‘Is that true?’ (Jon puts his head down playing out how his oldest boy does) Apparently not (Laughs).
So, moving to where you did, obviously it was for privacy sake, which is understandable, but was it also for security?
Oh yeah, for security. I’m a licensed gun owner. I used to have bodyguards. Even when my former wife was still filming without me, she and the kids had bodyguards. But I didn’t own custody so for 4 days a week, I don’t have a bodyguard but when they go home they do have a bodyguard so how do you…
On July 10th, 2013, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jon Gosselin from ‘Jon and Kate Plus 8’. If your memory of Jon is fuzzy or you have no idea who Jon Gosselin is, one Google search will produce a cavalcade of webpages chock full of reality show information, Wikipedia pages, rumors, scandals, quotes, reports, and sightings of he and his family.
‘Jon and Kate Plus 8’ was a weekly show on TLC chronicling the life and times of Jon and Kate Gosselin and their 8 children, twin daughters Mady and Cara and sextuplets, Aaden, Hannah, Joel, Leah, Alexis, and Collin. At its height, it was TLC’s top rated show and one of televisions’ most watched (their 5th season premiere had almost 10 million viewers). After filing for divorce in 2009 and two more seasons (then renamed ‘Kate Plus 8’), the show ended.
After a brief moment in the spotlight and on tabloid pages, Jon slipped away. The public persona that had been built up from years of being on reality TV and front and center on tabloid magazines waned. The public began to not only see less of Jon but hear less from him too. Jon, very purposefully, retreated from big cities and back to where he grew up, Berks County, Pennsylvania, in an attempt to live a normal life.
In 1989, the world was given Roadhouse. Directed by Rowdy Herrington (with a name like that, who better to direct this movie) and starring Patrick Swayze as Dalton. A bar bouncer who is tough as titanium nails dipped in fire from a dragon’s belly but able to wax philosophic at a moment’s notice. If Descartes and John Rambo could somehow defy human anatomical laws and have a kid, that butt-kicking kid would be Dalton.
In Roadhouse, Dalton is faced with the uneasy task of turning round the Double Deuce. A bar so seedy and rundown, even the Mos Eisley Band, Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, wouldn’t play there. Dalton kicks, punches, drinks coffee, philosophizes, and rips throats out along the way to getting the Deuce back on its feet again.
As an 80’s action/thriller, Roadhouse does not disappoint. So you might saying, “Yeah Jimmy, we know Roadhouse is a totally awesome movie and we have already attempted to rip out Dave from Human Resources’ throat to see if it is possible, but what does that have to do with parenting?” I’m glad you asked. Just because Dalton’s forte is cleaning up dive bars and having his hands registered as lethal weapons doesn’t mean his philosophical nuggets of wisdom don’t hold truths for exhausted parents as much as they do for his fellow coolers, Kelly Lynch, 40-year old adolescents, felons, power drinkers and trustees of modern chemistry.